WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I grew up in the Elgin area and was involved with the cattle operation alongside my dad Phil. I have been married to my wife Joanie for 42 years! We have 2 sons, John and Justin. John is married to his wife Sam and they have 2 children, Sage (7 years old) and Jack (5 years old). John helps out on the ranch full time and Sam works at the bank in Elgin. Justin works for a company called Spreetail (E-Commerce) and helps with the cattle operation in his free time.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS?
My dad and I held our first calf sale the Fall of 1973 and we’ve continued that sale every Fall since then. In fact, this upcoming fall will be our 49th club calf sale. When we started it, we were just selling calves to local 4Hers, then grew to State kids and have since grown to kids all over the U.S. and Canada. We’ve been in the business as long as anyone has and have truly stood the test of time. We’ve sold Champions at every level and have met so many amazing and wonderful people along the way.
WHO HAS IMPACTED YOU THE MOST IN YOUR LIFE?
I would say my dad Phil has had the biggest impact. They’ve always said he is the one who invented the “show steer”. We kind of started this whole deal and to see what it has turned into today, is just remarkable.
HOW HAS THE CATTLE INDUSTRY CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
If you go back and look at them in the 80s, they were tall and hard doing. Now they are soft and easy feeding. Back then it was always a challenge to breed them tall enough. But it’s more of a job to bring them back down and put some middle in them. It seems like we had better bulls for breeding them tall vs bringing down their frame. Just as the cattle have changed over time, so has the presentation. The families that feed them have improved tremendously over the years. There are many more feed experts and new additives to help families feed them out. The fitters have also gotten very good over time. It never stops for them. The hair is always getting better and the products they use are constantly evolving to make the animal better presented.
WHERE DO I SEE THE SHOW CATTLE INDUSTRY GOING?
I really think the past couple of years the show steers are dang good and are extremely well presented. I’m sure things will continue to change as time goes on, but one thing will always remain number one to me and that is structure.
What started out as just selling a few steers here and there around the state, has grown into an enjoyable full-time job, still amazes me. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many outstanding people along the way but seeing the kids succeed is still the best part for me. Raising club calves truly has been a passion of my life.